Literature

The Mouth of Hell

Why read the classics? The typical answer to that question is almost always couched in terms of “enlarging the mind”. So, for instance, when John Henry Newman, in his Idea of a University, argues for the importance of the liberal arts, he has no practical, utilitarian motive in his sights. Rather, such an enterprise seeks to enhance the force, the steadiness, the comprehensiveness and the versatility of intellect, the command over our own powers, the instinctive just estimate of things as they pass before us, which sometimes indeed is a natural gift, but commonly is not gained without much effort…

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